Our tutors have met with their students online for many years (well before the pandemic!), and over time these virtual sessions have become as dynamic, personal, and successful as in-person meetings. We understand, though, why parents who are unfamiliar with one-to-one live online tutoring might feel uncertain about it. We asked students and a parent to talk about their own online tutoring experiences to provide a fuller picture!
Amelia, a seventh grader, initially wanted to work with her tutor at her home. However, the tutor we thought would be the best fit for her was available only for online sessions, so Amelia agreed to give it a try. A year later, she continues to meet with her tutor online and is getting an A in her advanced math class! She said, “It’s made me more confident in my math skills. Because of being more confident, I get higher grades on the tests.”
Mary, a sophomore, has worked with tutors in person and online for a few years, and she actually prefers online tutoring. “It’s so much easier and quicker to set up and follow through. There are no crazy differences learning-wise between meeting in person and online.”
Bethany is the mother of Gunnar, an eighth grader who’s met with his tutor online for several years. She said, “We have had such a fabulous experience with our tutor—I can’t say enough how amazing he has been. We initially reached out to work with him on executive function skills, but it’s great how quickly he can pivot to other areas where Gunnar is struggling.”
In our conversations with Amelia, Mary, and Bethany, we heard common reasons why online tutoring has worked so well for them.
Students learn best when they work with a tutor who understands their learning style and connects with them beyond the task at hand. When our tutor matches aren’t limited by geography, we’re able to choose from a bigger group of tutors. Bethany recognized this as a perk of online tutoring. “By having a virtual tutor, we were able to have the right person matched with our son. The importance of fit was really key for us. If we were limited to in-person and somewhat close to our town, we would not have been able to achieve that special fit and relationship that they have.”
Working with a best-fit tutor is good for the whole family. It’s not unusual at all for a child to enthusiastically apply strategies taught by their tutor—the same strategies they rolled their eyes at when suggested by their parents! As Bethany put it with a smile, “As a parent, it is wonderful to have someone on our team who Gunnar respects since he feels that his two college-educated parents do not have the background to help him in areas where he is having some challenges. For us, it definitely takes a lot of arguing out of the equation and he really respects his tutor.”
Often, parents assume online sessions will be impersonal or disconnected. Thankfully, that’s not the case with Nurturing Wisdom. As Amelia said, “You shouldn’t be worried that you’ll just be talking to a screen.” She shared that her tutor personalizes math questions, often incorporating fun drawings on their shared screen. Mary and her tutors “talk a lot and get to know each other” at the beginning of their sessions before diving into work. These points of connection go a long way toward building trust and comfort!
Just like for in-person tutoring, our tutors strive to tailor each online session to the student’s needs and strengths. To be successful at that, they have to get to know each other and have strong communication. Bethany told us how impactful her son and tutor’s relationship has been. “We asked our tutor to write a recommendation for Gunnar’s boarding school applications, and I have to say I was very teary reading it. He truly ‘gets’ who Gunnar is and celebrates his strengths. It was a wonderful piece to add to the application package.”
Being remote doesn’t have to be detrimental to the tutor-parent communication either. There are a variety of ways tutors keep parents updated on progress, strategies, and next steps. Bethany said, “As a parent, it is also nice for me to have someone to speak to when I am struggling with some of these issues we are having with our son. It’s really great to have him as a resource where I can bounce some ideas off of to see where I can help (and where I need to step back) to make sure that Gunnar is reaching his full potential.”
With virtual sessions, scheduling opens up in all kinds of ways. Mary said, “I’m such a busy person with so many sports and extracurriculars to work around. Tutors are more flexible with online tutoring than they are in person.” Meeting online at 9:00 p.m. is more practical than in person because the commute is eliminated. In addition, online tutoring isn’t knocked off schedule by traffic, out-of-town travel, weather, or mild illness.
Sometimes students need a shorter session between their regular meeting times. We see this a lot with last-minute studying or a particularly difficult homework assignment. How easy to hop online and take care of it!
The technology available for online tutoring really does let us replicate what happens during in-person sessions. For example, document cameras allow the tutor to see how a student works through a written problem and vice-versa. Screen-sharing enables both the student and tutor to view and mark up the same document.
Mary has worked online with tutors for math, chemistry and Spanish, and she said, “I’m able to gain the same knowledge online as when I met in person with tutors.” Amelia talked about how different online tutoring is from her experience with remote school during the pandemic. “It’s not with a group, so if I need to slow down or stop, we’re able to do that. My tutor is right there to answer my questions.”
Learn more about Nurturing Wisdom’s online tutoring and see it in action here! We’re happy to answer any questions you have about your own situation and help you decide what’s best for your child. Give us a call!